Advertising, Connected TV

TV Advertising Campaigns: How Television Marketing Works

Why Connected TV is the biggest opportunity in advertising, and how advertisers can get started today

TV Advertising Campaigns: How Television Marketing Works

15 Min Read

Connected TV is a big opportunity for television advertisers, and there’s a lot to learn if you want to be successful. We’ve assembled a quick primer on exactly what you need to know about Connected TV and how it compares with traditional television advertising.

Spoiler alert: it’s not even close.

With this guide in hand, you’ll have everything you need to be an expert in TV advertising.

Why Should I Advertise on TV?

A brand’s presence on TV can provide a big boost in credibility. TV marketing campaigns expose your brand, your products, and your company’s message to an incredibly large audience. Great TV ads are a core component of demand generation, if not the most important aspect altogether.

The goal, in essence, is to create intriguing, high-quality television ads that will drive potential customers to engage with more in-depth content online.

In other words, television has the power to shift your target audience into your marketing funnel. And with Connected TV, many of the barriers that have historically prevented companies from advertising on TV have been removed. More on this later.

Types of TV Advertising

To design the best plan of attack for your business, it’s important to understand the two main types of TV advertising, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. TV is broadly categorized under two larger umbrellas: Linear TV and Streaming TV.

1. Linear TV Advertising

What is linear TV advertising? Linear TV is the traditional form of broadcast television where content is viewed on a predetermined schedule as opposed to on-demand. This form of television caters to prime-time viewing, the time when most individuals are in front of their screens.

Therefore, linear TV advertising is the act of marketing to this prime-time viewing audience on a set schedule.

Linear TV advertising and cable TV advertising are often used interchangeably, and they’re essentially the same thing with a slight distinction. All cable TV is linear, but not all linear is cable TV. For example, other forms of linear TV include satellite and “over the air”. So any medium with a “line up” of shows at set times qualifies as linear.

2. Streaming TV Advertising

What is streaming TV advertising? Streaming TV is the modern approach to watching your favorite shows on your favorite devices, brought to you through an internet connection (no cable box required). This type of on-demand viewing allows users to choose when and where they consume content, as long as they have access to the internet and a smart device like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc.

Therefore, streaming TV advertising is marketing material that runs within TV content via an internet-connected device.

Two phrases you’ll often hear in the streaming TV advertising world are Connected TV (CTV) and OTT (Over-the-Top). Rest assured, these terms mean the same thing so there’s no need to be confused. See our OTT vs. CTV article for more details.

How Effective Is Advertising on TV?

There’s a reason why you’re inundated with commercials every time you flip on your favorite shows. TV advertising still works remarkably well. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t see the world’s largest brands continue to dedicate so much of their marketing budgets to television.

This begs the question: Are the largest brands in the world able to advertise on TV because they’re large, or are they large because they advertise on TV?

Interesting thought experiment! Like any marketing channel, you need money to get started. But TV is often underutilized even though its effectiveness is unquestioned. Now let’s dissect why it works so well.

Advantages and Disadvantages of TV Advertising

Before we dive into all the juicy details about Connected TV, let’s discuss the pros and cons of traditional broadcast television for a moment.


Why is TV advertising so effective? There are several advantages of TV advertisements to keep in mind.

  • People love a good story. The love of storytelling is literally hardwired into our DNA. What better way to appeal to the emotions of viewers than through a captivating commercial that’s well-written and filled with top talent?
  • TV commercials are memorable. People are much more likely to remember a great commercial as opposed to the plethora of uninspiring social media ads they see on a regular basis.
  • TV has a greater reach. With over 95% of US households having access to broadcast channels, it’s easy to see the potential by moving some of your marketing spend to television.
  • TV advertising conveys legitimacy. Due to the greater visibility and larger costs associated with TV ads, in the eyes of viewers, the simple fact that your brand is there demonstrates an element of trust, if not a full-on endorsement of your brand by their favorite network.
  • There’s much less noise. Anyone can advertise on social media which has begun to numb our senses somewhat. And while Connected TV has certainly changed the game by opening TV advertising up to businesses of all sizes, there are still only 2-3 commercials playing at a time. Less noise means more focus and attention on your ad.


What are the problems and limitations with television advertising? The following are disadvantages of TV advertising that are worth considering.

  • Lack of measurement. From an advertiser’s perspective, the lack of quality TV campaign tracking metrics is a major drawback of traditional TV advertising. There is no guarantee that your commercials will be viewed and it’s not possible to track which viewers arrive on your website and convert. Additionally, the ability to target audience segments with anything other than ratings and time of day is nonexistent.
  • People Skip Ads. A study by Deloitte found that 86% of viewers skip linear TV commercials. That leaves you with, well… not much. The study also found that the majority of users are distracted by channel surfing or viewing their other devices in between commercial breaks. Since there are additional costs associated with any TV marketing campaign, such as producing the commercial itself, it’s important to know that your ad is actually being watched. With linear TV, you can’t be sure of this.
  • Shrinking Viewership. As consumers rapidly shift to Connected TV, the viewership numbers for linear TV continue to decline. This shift is particularly true with younger generations who are watching significantly less linear television than older generations. This may not be a surprise, but an unintended consequence of this is that linear TV advertising rates continue to rise in order to offset the loss of viewership.
  • Larger upfront costs: Speaking of rates, there are often significant upfront costs associated with television advertising. These hefty initial commitments are a turn-off to the majority of small to medium-sized businesses who prefer a pay-as-you-go model.

We hope this paints a clear picture of the fundamentals of television advertising, why it’s so important, as well as the pros and cons of a traditional television spot. But we’re not done yet! The best part of the article is yet to come.

What if you could have all the advantages of linear TV advertising, with none of the downsides?

Well, you can with Connected TV. Let’s discuss.

What is Connected TV?

If you’re going to learn all about Connected TV, also known as OTT advertising, this is a good starting point. Connected TV is television content streamed over apps and smart TVs, mobile devices, or over-the-top (OTT) devices.

Viewer-adoption of Connected TV is high and continues to grow. As more viewers cut the cord from cable and satellite and begin to rely on streaming for their TV entertainment, advertisers will get more access to their target audience which they can serve highly relevant, targeted ads.

Advertising on Connected TV - US Connected TV Users 2018-2022

How Does Connected TV Advertising Work?

Connected TV combines the technical capabilities of digital advertising with the user experience of linear television.

Advertisers can target specific audiences using first and third-party data (just like digital advertising) to serve TV ads to viewers; this gives a lot of creative leverage as advertisers can then customize their message to whoever they are trying to reach. Connected TV takes the “broadcast” out of television, and instead allows for precision-targeted ad campaigns. 

Similarly, Connected TV leverages digital capabilities when it comes to measuring ad performance making it superior to traditional TV advertising methods. Advertisers can track ad-side metrics such as ad completion rates, as well as the actions viewers take after seeing the ad like website visits and conversions. 

These advantages explain why ad dollars are pouring into the space, with ad spend expected to double by 2023. 

Ads on Connected TV - US Connected TV Spending 2019-2023

The Case for Connected TV Advertising

“Connected TV is the next big digital channel, and quite frankly, it’s going to be the largest digital advertising channel ever.”

  • Mark Douglas, President & CEO of MNTN

By advertising on Connected TV, advertisers get access to a new performance channel that carries a big impact with audiences. Viewers are making the shift away from cable, and in a way playing right into advertisers’ hands. By changing viewing habits to Connected TV, viewers are watching in an ecosystem that supports targeted advertising, and measurable performance marketing metrics and KPIs.

77% Of Viewers Who Primarily Watch Connected TV Cut the Cord Due to Cost
The days are numbered for oversized cable subscriptions stuffed with channels no one watches. Viewers are cutting down on costs for the content they never use and are making the shift to affordable, ad-supported streaming that gives them more control over when and what they watch.

Connected TV Represents Incremental Growth
Viewers who watch ad-supported content watch over four hours less of traditional TV per week when compared to the average viewer. Couple that with tens of millions of cord cutters, and it represents a unique way to connect with consumers you may otherwise be unable to reach.

What Types of Advertisers Benefit from Connected TV?

All types of advertisers can reap the rewards, and we have been fortunate to work with Fortune 500 companies through to emerging brands across all types of industries. Specifically, Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands love to add CTV advertising to their marketing mix as it directly tracks visitors (and subsequent conversions) to your site from viewing your ad.

The case to advertise on CTV - 82% of Direct to Consumer shoppers take action after viewing an ad

The pendulum has been swinging in CTV’s direction, and these DTC brands are quickly catching onto the value of Connected TV advertising. Recent data from the Video Advertising Bureau shows more than a 200% increase in TV advertising spend from 2018, and that 58% of DTC brands are buying TV ads for the first time. Brands like Peloton, Chewy, Third Love, Smile Direct Club, and Purple are investing heavily in this area, with more to come.

Check out some of the Case Studies on our site to learn more about how our customers have found great success advertising on Connected TV.

Benefits of Connected TV Advertising

We’ve already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of traditional TV advertising, but what about the benefits of Connected TV specifically? The following benefits are truly where CTV platforms like MNTN separate themselves from the competition.

1. Connected TV Audience Targeting

You can display your ads on Connected TV based on first and third-party data to help find the exact target audiences you want to reach. For example, MNTN Performance TV leverages countless third-party audiences from the Oracle Data Cloud, as well as enabling you to retarget website visitors with Connected TV ads.

Advertising on Connected TV - A Sample of Connected TV targeting

2. Connected TV Ad Reporting

Connected TV ad reporting provides insight into metrics that digital marketers are familiar with. Detailed reporting enables advertisers to know their ad’s impact on delivery, as well as the actions viewers take afterward. 

A Sample of Connected TV Ad Metrics

  • ROAS
  • Site Visits
  • Performance by device
  • Cost per Completed View
  • Completion Rate
  • Performance by Geo
  • Cost per Visit
  • eCPA

One important thing to note on measuring TV ad performance, however, is that when it comes to reporting not all Connected TV ad platforms are created equal. For example, MNTN Performance TV gives insight into network-level reporting due to it using its own dedicated ad server – this is a metric that is not commonly found with other solutions.

It’s also fully integrated into Google Analytics, meaning advertisers can monitor their performance right alongside the rest of their performance campaigns. 

3. It’s a Performance Marketing Channel

As viewing habits change, so too does the TV landscape. But too many advertisers see Connected TV advertising as a solution for tomorrow and not today. That’s just plain wrong — it is generating strong results for brands right this second, and anyone not advertising on this channel is missing out.

Thanks to its technical capabilities, performance marketing is possible on Connected TV. MNTN Performance TV embodies that and makes performance-oriented goals the centerpiece. The case studies below are just a sample of the performance TV marketing campaigns that brands of all verticals have launched to great success.

Mattress Retailer Drives 16:1 ROAS with Connected TV 
Leveraging advanced targeting and accurate measurement, this leading online mattress brand drove immense amounts of site traffic and conversions. 

CPA | $54.17
Site Visit Rate | 0.61%
Completion Rate | 98%

Subscription Software Brand Drives 2X Higher ROAS vs. Retargeting
By using geo-specific targeting to pinpoint valuable audiences, and excluding previous site visitors to ensure they would only reach a new audience, this leading language software brand drove better returns than display retargeting. 

ROAS | 2:1
Reach | 932, 410
Completion Rate | 97%

Top-3 Travel Booking Site Generates 5.28% site visit rate
The travel site saw an enormous return on their investment with MNTN, generating a 3X higher ROAS when compared to their display retargeting efforts, with only a $0.51 CPA.

CPA | $0.51
Reach | 420,598
Site Visit Rate | 5.28%

Oh man, look at those performance metrics. Want to get in on that? Request a demo today.

How to Advertise on TV

Viewers are making the switch to Connected TV and makes a strong case to advertise on CTV. Advertisers are reaping the rewards so don’t get left behind. Want to know how to advertise on TV? Here’s what you need to do to launch your own Connected TV ads. It’s easier than you think.

1. Check Your Existing Video Assets
Many brands don’t realize they already have the right video assets to run Connected TV ads. Not a video expert? No problem, show these CTV specs to your video team and they can confirm if you’re good to go, or make the appropriate edits to get them ready.

CTV Video Ad Specs

  • Size Ratio | 16:9, 1920×1080
  • Length | 30 seconds max, 15 or 30 second slots
  • File Format | .mp4 or .mov
  • File Size | Max size 200MB
  • Frame Rate | Must be constant; 23.98, 25, or 29.97 FPS
  • Bit Rate | Greater or equal to 2500 KBPS

CTV Audio Specs

  • Overall Mix Level | 10db to -14db
  • Dialogue | -12db to -15db
  • Music | -18db to -22db
  • Sound Effects | -10db to -20db with occasional spikes up to -8db

2. Be Ready with 15 and 30 Second Spots
TV ads run for 15 and 30-second durations, and depending on your brand or message, one runtime may drive better performance. Don’t have a 15-second ad? Edit down your 30-second version so you can test each length and determine which is best for you.

3. Ensure You’re Following Creative Best Practices 
While every brand has its own style and approach, there are a few creative elements that will help improve your ad’s performance. 

  • Because viewers can’t click to visit your site, you need to include a visual or audio call to action at the end of your ad. 
  • Keep your logo and URL persistent throughout so they know who you are and where to go.
  • The ads will always have sound, so make use of a voice-over to ensure you capture your viewer’s attention.

4. Work with a Platform to Make Life Easier
The Connected TV landscape can be fragmented and confusing if you don’t know the lay of the land. Working with a platform like the MNTN Advertising Suite gets you access to premium networks and inventory all in one place, allowing you to run TV ads alongside quality content without having to take a piecemeal approach.

TV Advertising Examples

There are several great examples of TV ads that you can model your lead generation and demand generation campaigns after. There are several ways to make an effective TV commercial, but here are a few of our favorites!


Here’s a great example of a TV commercial that we use to promote our own brand on Connected TV. Sure, having our Chief Creative Officer, Ryan Reynolds, in the ad certainly doesn’t hurt. But it’s the brevity of the message that really hits home. CTV is here, it changes television advertising forever, and it’s easy. Take a look!


If you’re an environmentally conscious consumer who loves to travel then Rumpl is for you! This TV advertisement pitches a fashionable blanket made out of recycled materials that speaks directly to the adventure goers of the world. It’s a great example of an upbeat ad that gets the key points across in under 30 seconds.


Most of us recognize Sarah McLachlan as not only a singer/songwriter, but also from her ASPCA ads, and that’s the brilliance of this TV commercial. It’s a complete misdirect that carries the somber theme of the ASPCA ads while simultaneously pitching an eCommerce solution for abandoned shopping carts. It’s a hilarious and memorable TV ad that will keep Bolt top of mind for consumers.


If you’re looking for elegant decor for your dining room table, Replacements has you covered! This TV ad example uses the tried and true formula of explaining the problem, offering a solution, and elaborating on the value proposition in under 30 seconds. For the most effective TV commercials, short and sweet is the name of the game.


Last one with Ryan Reynolds, we promise! Besides a clear and concise message, humor is often the best weapon for creating effective television advertisements. This commercial pitches 1Password as the perfect solution for protecting your digital life, keeping all of your passwords, credit card info, and other valuable data safe. Again, it’s short and sweet and very memorable. Enjoy!

TV Advertising: Get Started Today

Connected TV advertising has a lot going for it. Adoption rates for streaming television are through the roof, the targeting and analytics allow brands to drive serious performance, and the ad channel is really only just beginning.

Sign up for our Connected TV report below to stay in the loop, or request a demo to get started.